Saturday, October 30, 2010

for anyone who wants to see our costumes...

mike as ash:

me as lyra:

whew. almost too much to keep up with...

so there was a lot i've been meaning to write about the last few days...let me see if i can remember it all!

first and foremost, i forgot to mention that last saturday night, mike and i watched kick-ass, which i thought was fantastic! i'd been meaning to see it for ages, and had the netflix disc for about a month and a half. i love mark millar - i haven't read kick-ass but i read wanted and i thought it was really over the top and terrific. that movie was awful, but i knew this movie was being directed by matthew vaughn (hell YES!), so i went into it with higher expectations, and i was NOT disappointed. i'm really looking forward to reading the comic as soon as i get my hands on a copy! and monday night, we ended up watching the mortal kombat movie, which i hadn't seen in years. it's such a fun movie! i love it. i wanted to watch the second one but it's not on netflix streaming, so we'll have to get the disc. how barbaric :P

also, i've been trying to get back into the daily debate, something i've been involved with for a long time on twitter. it was started by will powers, the winner of the sony playstation show the tester last year. he would just have hour-long debates about video game topics. it turned into kind of a big thing, with a lot of people getting involved. through it i started interacting with amanda brockman, who was also on the tester, and we became friends, and even got to hang out at this year's PAX prime, which was incredible!! will has gotten really busy, so a few of us took over - really mainly amanda, our friend alicia royer, and me. we try to divide the week up, but lately i'd been so busy that i wasn't even able to participate, let alone moderate. i've been getting back into it more lately. feel free to check us out at 7pm eastern standard time with the hashtag #dailydebate on twitter :).

what else? tuesday matthew quick was on campus, and i was also very impressed with him. our department has a writer come every year - well, they pick out a book, and the entire incoming freshman class reads it over the summer, and then the author comes in the fall term and gives a presentation and has a master class with a select group of students. i've never seen so many students so into a writer before him, though! the book was called the silver linings playbook. i didn't get a chance to read it beforehand - we've been doing this for seven years, and i've only had time to read the books of three of the authors beforehand - but i really wish i had. it's set in collingswood, and mentions the town i grew up in, westmont, more than a few times. i'm going to try to get a copy and read it when i have some free time. i got a chance to talk to matthew, who is a brilliant writer with tons of great advice and stories. he's very open and honest and caring. i'm very glad i got to meet him! that night i just crashed in and did homework - i was so tired and still feeling sick and worn out from the weekend. i also got some stuff done on my to-do list, but never enough :P. also matt, my editor at gaming target, was in town, so mike and chris met up with him and mike brought back god of war: ghost of sparta for me to review early. w00t!

wednesday i had work, and then after work, i rushed home to get some stuff done, then headed over to indyhall for a meeting. it was very productive! and a lot of fun. afterwards, mike and i finished up pixeljunk shooter (i beat it when it first came out, but we played it through together this time and it was even more fun!), and then we went to bed.

thursday after work we had some dinner and watched another episode of 30 rock, which we started watching recently. everyone has always told me how hysterical that show is, and i'm glad it's living up to the expectations!! it's hilarious. i did some more homework and then passed out really early. i was SO exhausted!

friday after work i picked up my copy of final fantasy: 4 heroes of light from the local fedex place, and squeeeeeed all the way home. mike and i had some dinner, then got changed into our costumes - we're pokemon trainers, ash and lyra. no one has recognized me, but EVERYONE recognizes him, which is cute for me, and kind of embarrassing for him, haha. we went to the geekadelphia/indyhall party at tattooed mom's and had an AMAZING time. i've only been writing for geekadelphia for a little while, so i hadn't met anyone in person yet, and it was really fun to meet people for the first time. also, jake from indyhall was there with his wife, and their costumes were so clever i didn't even recognize them until the swedish chef yelled "NICOLE!" across the room and i looked at him and said, "oh my god, jake???" hahaha. my friend olivia came as well, and my friend brett showed up, so we all ended up having a really amazing time!

today we woke up pretty early and had some breakfast. weekend breakfast is one of my favorite things in the entire universe. after that, we lollygagged around a bit and played some more of the killzone 3 beta, which i have to admit is pretty rad. then we headed to kmart to get a new litter box because our old one was beat. we ended up wandering around, looking at household appliances (i totally want an electric griddle) and ended up in the electronics section, where i somehow managed to escape without buying any games or systems or accessories or dvds or blu rays. go me! we came back home and i went through the fridge and gathered up all the stuff that had to be thrown away and we took out the trash and i put a big box of books outside with a sign that says "free books!" on it in the hopes that people would happily oblige. then we did our most traumatizing chore: giving the cats a bath. they've been stinky lately and i can't remember the last time i bathed them, so we dove in. they were NOT pleased, but at least now they smell and look much nicer! and hopefully it'll help with mike's allergies as well.

tonight we have another halloween party - we're going to the 6th annual vampires and vixens at tavern on broad. i've wanted to go but always dropped the ball. luckily, this year some of our friends are going and invited us. woo! we'll be wearing our pokemon trainer costumes again, so we can geek out, haha. we also have cute little "pop and play" pokeballs which actually pop open. they're pretty awesome! right now, i think i'm going to try to finish up this week's homework so there's less hanging over my head for tomorrow. tomorrow night we're going to a halloween party at yakitori boy, and depending on how fun it is, we may be leaving early to go back to mike's and watch the premiere of the walking dead on amc. i'm pretty excited about it - i've been waiting for this moment for about 3 years now! those comics are amazing, and i've heard nothing but good stuff about the show. i've been trying not to watch anything but i couldn't stop myself from watching the trailer, and now i'm excited for it. i know zombies are saturating the market right now, but i love that comic so much that i can't help but be excited to see it so accurately brought to life...err...undeath? right now i think i might play a few rounds of either call of duty 4 or killzone 3 or medal of honor...too many choices! i've really been feeling modern warfare, surprisingly...i even had a 10 kill streak last night. hot damn!

to anyone who made it through all those words: congratulations! you've earned a trophy: caught up with nik. :) happy halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

busy day

There's so much to write about, but it's nearly midnight and I'm exhausted. I spent a lot of tonight doing homework, which was less grueling after finding out this morning that I got a 96 on my midterm. That felt pretty good. Matthew Quick was on campus today as well, which was awesome. I got some other stuff out of the way tonight, too. There's more - there's always so much more to do all the time - but at least I chipped away at it a bit. And at least I got to play some of the Killzone 3 beta, which is awesome.

More tomorrow - hopefully with pictures.

Monday, October 25, 2010

delightful packages + onigiri = hearts

I forgot to mention that we got some awesome packages last week - our pokeballs came for our costumes (Mike is being Ash and I'm being Lyra/Kotone from Pokemon). My package from J-List came as well, filled with snacks (some awesome KitKats, Ramune, some crazy beef-wrapped onigiri corn puffs) and lots more cute bento stuff. Very fun! I also got more of my Lyra/Kotone costume from a place called Sock Dreams, one of the most amazing websites I've ever visited in my life. I got a pair of white thigh high socks and some grey sock garters (I wanted black but they were sold out and they said they weren't sure if they'd get them in time for Halloween), as well as some really cute soccer-player-inspired white over the knee socks with purple stripes at the top, some black leggings, knee-high socks covered in ice cream cones, and my first pair of Tabbisocks, adorable Japanese socks with the split toe - I got a pair with an all-over sakura print. Kawaii!

This is all in addition to some other great packages we've gotten the last few weeks - I got a cute prize pack from the Behemoth with some stickers and other adorableness. I also splurged and got the special edition GBA SP that looks like a Nintendo controller (<3). And finally, we got some review copies - Mike got John Daly ProStroke Golf, and I got Disney Sing It Party Hits and Valkyria Chronicles II. I'm addicted to both of them, strangely :P. Coming in the mail right now is Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light, which I have to pick up tomorrow. I'm very excited about it! I played it for about half an hour at E3 and I loved every second.

Right now, I'm making some sushi rice with dumplings and edamame, and I'm going to practice some more with my bento stuff. I can't wait! Lunch is the hardest meal for me to plan for, especially since I've been trying to cut out processed foods (bye-bye, easy sandwich lunches). Anyway, time to get some stuff done around the house before the food finishes. I've been feeling pretty sick still, so I'm going to take it easy, but there's still always so much to do...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

weekends are too short.

So, Thursday night we played some games and went to bed at a pretty reasonable time, around 11 or so. I woke up Friday feeling pretty terrible - I wasn't sure if it was just a lack of sleep, or what, but I didn't get up until close to 7, so that felt like it should have been enough sleep. I was dragging and aching all day. After work I took the train home because I had a bunch of stuff with me, and then we had to rush to Mike's place. I packed up my costume for the party and all my stuff for the wedding the next day in my small suitcase and we headed over. We got dressed and ready and headed to the bar the party was being held at. It was for the law school students, so I just assumed I wouldn't know anyone there...except we ended up seeing Antonio, one of my ex-boyfriends. He and I had dated for four years, from 1999-2003, and I knew he was dating a girl in Mike's law school class, but I didn't think we'd ever actually run into them. I saw a guy staring at me and was a little confused about it, but when I saw his girlfriend walk up, I realized I hadn't recognized him...which is odd, because he was wearing the same costume he'd worn with me on Halloween years earlier. The last interaction we'd had was not a positive one - we had a hostile e-mail exchange in 2006. Well, my e-mails weren't hostile, but the last one he sent was one of the angriest things I'd ever seen, so I just let it go and didn't reply. I felt bad that he was still harboring so much anger after so much time had already passed - and he'd already been dating the girl he was still with now. So I didn't think replying would be at all productive, nor did I have any desire to approach him at the party (though people have been asking me how he's doing. Sorry, everyone - I don't know!). I hope he's doing well, but I assume that part of what keeps him doing well is avoiding me, and I'm more than happy to oblige.

Anyway, we stayed at the party a little while, then headed back to Mike's and passed out. I still wasn't feeling great. We woke up Saturday and I was feeling worse and now I was even feeling feverish, which sucked. I ended up not going to my friend's wedding, which was really disappointing. I just couldn't even manage to stand for more than a few minutes at a time. We had some breakfast and I just laid around all day playing some games and reading a book. Mike ran back to my apartment for me to check on the cats, because he is the sweetest boyfriend in the universe <3. We also FINALLY got a chance to watch the Netflix movie I'd had for a month and a half - Kick Ass. It was AMAZING!! I was blown away, and I really want to read the book now, because I loved Wanted so much and I hope it's just as good, if not better. We also broke in the new slider machine I bought for Mike - it's like a George Forman grill, but it makes mini burgers. It was pretty much the awesomest thing ever. We went to bed at a reasonable time, and woke up pretty early today because we had a family thing at my cousin's. I wasn't sure if we were going to make it or not - I still wasn't feeling 100% - but we packed up my stuff and headed to my place. I had to make some cupcakes, so I fired up my mini cupcake machine, made about a million, got a shower, and got dressed, and I was feeling pretty ok. We headed into the jerz and my mom picked us up and we spent the day with my family. I wasn't sure how everyone was going to react to Mike, but it ended up being overwhelmingly good - my family really adores him, and they were all glad to see him - and to see him so happy. Everyone was beaming and hugging him, and we got to catch up with them all, which was sweet and wonderful. The occasion was that one of our Australian relatives was visiting and wanted to meet everyone, so we got to meet her as well, and hang out with all the other members of my family we hadn't seen - and we also got to watch the Steelers win, which was great because my Uncle Amos is the assistant special teams coach. So, all in all, it was a very family-oriented day. My mom dropped us off at the speedline with a bag of goodies (including some new sandwich containers!) and we headed back here. Mike went back to his place to work on some homework, and I played more Medal of Honor until he came back. I'm trying to get some more of the multiplayer trophies, and it sucked me right back into how much I love that game.

So, I didn't get much done on my massive to-do list, but there's still tomorrow after work. Tuesday we have free tickets to a movie screening; Wednesday I have a meeting at Indyhall; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we have...Halloween parties! So tomorrow and Thursday will just have to be my catch-up days. We'll see! I also need some time to do homework and laundry...sigh. As always, the fall is the busiest term...

And now it's time for bed. Hopefully more tomorrow!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Maybe updating every other day would be smarter...

So yesterday, after work, I got home, exercised, did some yoga, made dinner, and ended up chilling out all night playing video games with Mike. I got a copy of Disney Sing It Party Hits to review for Gaming Target, and I actually really enjoyed playing it! Afterwards, we played some Sports Champions, and joked about how we've turned into casual gamers. I also played some Valkyria Chronicles II, as I'm reviewing that as well. We went to bed at a decent hour.

Today, after work, I had to stop at the bank and at Walgreen's (I should just live there, seriously). We also stopped at a costume shop because our costumes are still in the mail and we got invited to another Halloween party tomorrow (that's 7 total). I'm thrilled to have the chance to wear what we wore last year, but we had to get some extra stuff for them as my tights ripped and Mike didn't have any additional makeup for his. We got home, I cleaned up and made us a quick dinner, and Mike's been working on his homework while I've done some stuff I've been meaning to do - I submitted my midterm for class and typed up the notes from one of the meetings I had with the local game dev folks. I also played some more Sports Champions and Valkyria Chronicles II. Mostly I am just tired, though - I think my allergies are acting up, or something! I don't know what's going on.

I'm going to try to play a little more Disney Sing it and get this review started. I also need to order train tickets, reply to some emails, do some writing...and maybe sleep. This weekend is going to be busy - Halloween party tomorrow night, then Tim and Durda's wedding Saturday night, and a party at my cousin's on Sunday to meet one of our Australian relatives. Good times :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I have returned!

So, things have been busy, to say the least. Mike and I started talking again in August and got back together at the end of that month, culminating in him spontaneously - as in, that morning on the train taking me to the airport - coming with me to PAX and having the most incredible weekend of our lives. Things have been wonderful since, and I have never been happier!

Life has been crazy:


I've been doing a lot of it. I'm still doing the Senior Editor gig at Gaming Target, and I've been busy doing a lot of writing and editing there, as well as continuing my column at Press 1 and writing for Geekadelphia. It's been awesome. My latest piece at GT, a review of Medal of Honor, has garnered a lot of attention around the internet. The next day, I was quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about a game called Hipster City Cycle made by a local game developer. And later that week, Valerie Fox gave me a copy of her new book, and I'm in the acknowledgements for helping her edit. I also discovered that a quote from my review of 3D Dot Game Heroes is on the product page. All in all, a pretty rad week. This week, I've got a nice piece up at Geekadelphia on Space Whale Studios, with another piece set to go up hopefully this week. And I have another column up at Press 1 - this one's about E3.


Also been gaming a lot. Mike and I have been playing a ton together - he just helped me beat Final Fantasy V (I didn't even know the PS1 version supported co-op) and we're also playing Diablo 2 and Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. I'm playing Valkyria Chronicles II on the PSP for Gaming Target (love it!) and I just got the first Modern Warfare which I've been playing whenever I have spare time. There's also Pokemon Soulsilver, which I'm playing with Mike - we restarted our games when we got back together. (It's much more fun this time around. :D)

I'm also still meeting with those game developers, and I went to my first IGDA meeting and hope to make that a regular occurrence. We've got some awesome things in the works.


I'm taking another Library and Information Sciences master class this term after taking two terms off, so I haven't been doing much leisure reading, unfortunately. I read Never Let Me Go, which depressed me, and Hyperion, which I LOVED. I want to re-read Johannes Cabal: the Necromancer now that the second book came out, and I've been reading the Sherlock Holmes books on my Droid (with the handy Kindle app that I adore). I also inhaled all the Scott Pilgrim books over the summer, which were absolutely amazing. I'm trying to finish up the Monster Island/Nation/Planet books, and catch up on webcomics, but I haven't had the time. I've got a pile of books I got from Amazon and another pile from the library that are all collecting dust.


This is another disappointing area. Though I did get Netflix again, I've had the same movie sitting on my tv from them for over a month now, and there's no hope that I'm going to watch it anytime soon. It's Kickass, which I've really wanted to see, too. Hopefully I'll have some time this weekend. The last four times I've been to the theater I've seen Inception every time. I regret nothing. I do wish I'd had the time to see Scott Pilgrim, and I am hoping to catch Never Let Me Go if it's still at the Ritz.


My health has been sort of crazy - the rapid heart rate issue is still there, so I had to wear a heart monitor for a few days. And the doctors gave me Prilosec for the acid reflux, which was working but for some reason yesterday I was sick again, so it's been back to bland food today. Also, the pup had another seizure, so he's been on meds the last month as well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

It dawned on me that I've been knitting on and off for almost 9 years. I really want to get back into it. I have Ideas.

I'm loving steampunk - from books to anime to video games to fashion, I'm falling for it harder than before. There are some cool local events I'd really like to get into if we have the time and the money.

I've been cooking and baking a lot more these days. Cooking has been fun, and I'm really getting into the bento thing - right now I'm just waiting on some supplies to do another round of practicing. It's very fun! And I got a mini cupcake machine, which makes 7 cupcakes in 5 minutes. I love filling my kitchen with tiny cupcakes!

I've always loved stockings and socks, and with the discovery of an amazing website, my passion has resurfaced. Pictures and details to come when my second package arrives, for certain.

Mike and I went to Maido this weekend to stock up on Japanese goodies, from sushi rice to Ramune (delicious and fun Japanese soda) to snacks and bags of gyoza and shumai. Eating okonomiyaki at the counter really made me want to get back into Japanese again - I really miss my classes and my teachers! And Japan, of course. :) I finished Gurren Lagann a few weeks ago. So wonderful! I really want to play the DS game but without more practice, I'd never last!

We have some trips planned in the next few months - I'm very excited. We're going to MAGfest and PAX East so far, with a few more ideas slowly starting to bloom. Mostly we're just having an awesome time together, even when we just sit around all weekend and do nothing but play games. It's been truly magical. I'm working on a piece right now about PAX Prime and how perfect it was.

That's all for now! It's very late; I just finished up my midterm and wanted to start writing in here again because too many exciting things have been happening. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with it every night again :) with pictures as well, because I have many to share!